Friday, June 25, 2010

Home and Away

Yesterday marked two weeks since I've become a "permanent" resident of Nebraska. Maybe permanent isn't the right word, because I haven't yet gotten my new driver's license or registered to vote. Or because ever since I left Minnesota after college, I've never felt a part of the places I've lived. I've always felt like my life was in pseudo-transit, just waiting for the day when my address labels would read Minnesota again. It's a weird feeling. And now I'm back to actually being a student again. I'm still working out how I'm supposed to feel about all of this.

The good news is that where I am is actually on the way to other places (unlike BG) and this means that my family can actually come visit me--rather than it just being easier for me to visit them. My mother has already been down here--to help me find a place to live--and my parents just came through here en route to Colorado. My sister, K2, was going to bring C. down here over the 4th, but those plans have changed. But we're looking to make plans for later in the summer. This is good. Very good.

But I've been thinking about what it means to be home and what it means to be away. This morning, I woke up to a very cranky Maeve at 5:00, who was hungry. In the last two weeks, the cats have seemed to follow the same eating and sleeping schedule as their cousin C: up early, eat, then have a morning nap. Afternoon naps for everybody. This morning, Maeve wasn't having any of it. At least Galway is silent when he's upset. So I picked her up and she promptly wrapped her paws around my neck, like a kid and squawked out her problems. I petted for a while, then put her down, and we all got some more sleep. It's been tough to get used to this studio, not just me, but the cats as well. They're not used to having so few spaces to escape from each other. But thankfully, the addition of the brown loveseat has been great--the loss of floorspace actually means more space for the cats to be away from each other. Which makes me happy.

Things are mostly unpacked and put away here, as much as they will be, since I'm moving to a one-bedroom in August. This morning, I made my first pot of tea here and this seemed to signal Home to me, more than anything yet so far. I'm using my Belleek teapot (bought to commemorate C's birth in February), filled with Rose Earl Grey, and sipped out of the teacup the AMR got me as a going-away present. I've been using my green travel mug for my tea needs since I got here and in hindsight, that seem to signal some sort of fugue state, rather than permanence. I could have had the same effect with any of my teapots, any of my cups, but there's a lot to be said for what teapots and cups represent. Sit down, slow down, enjoy the morning sunshine.

There's other inherent memory here, surrounding me in these 300 sq ft. I'm typing this on my grandfather's desk, which he bought in 1953 when he and my grandmother and toddler mother moved to the Cities for my grandfather to start his master's degree in agricultural economics. I'm hoping it will also bring me the same brainy luck. The couch that Galway is currently stretched out on (not in his bed, the twerp) belongs to my sister K3, who has generously loaned it to me, after years of memories in her possession. I built this footstool out of black walnut with a grandpa-type friend when I was in high school. There's the tea cabinet. My recipe box. And more. There are memories here. I'm not reinventing the wheel. The memories stay in these things, whether or not I personally know what the memories are.

There's history in my pots and cups, which is why they're so important to me. They're not simply caffeine delivery devices. This particular combination brings together my Minnesota family, thoughts of K2, M, and C as they returned from the East Coast from M's family reunion last night (and stuck on the tarmac in Philadelphia for 2+ hours with a four-month-old baby), and it reminds me of my life and friends in BG, because this cup was a gift from a dear friend. A cup I was sipping from as I Skyped with my adopted BG mom, D.

Nebraska may not be home yet, but home is what you make of it. I'm not starting my memories from scratch and that makes me feel like I'm home.

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